There are some rappers out there that have flow figured out so well that they have it down to a science. This definitely applies to the Brainfeeder label rapper, Azizi Gibson. In fact, he flows so well that I have recently been scouring the internet for an Azizi Gibson interview where he is not actually rapping because I want to hear if he carries his rapper cadence in his regular speech. Gibson recently dropped his third project called, Ghost in the Shell, which is named after the critically acclaimed Japanese manga, written by Masamune Shirow. The tape is filled with 19 tracks of Azizi Gibson organically flowing through ambient and funky beats.
Gibson credits Jonathan Lowell and MiLLz for producing almost the entirety of the lengthy mixtape. The beats are one of the project’s best features as they are all very melodic and easy to vibe to. They all seem to have a similar underlying style; however, they do not contribute to making eachother redundant by repetition, as the beats also offer a wide range of moods for Gibson to rap to. This is especially true when listening to the mixtape in the sequential order that it was meant to be listened to. For example, the intro contains a smoother and slower groove while the next track, “Crunch Time”, has more of an upbeat banger type of feel to it.
Azizi Gibson is definitely not outshined by the beats on his tape. As previously mentioned, Gibson’s plethora of flows could keep a hyperactive kid entertained who forgot to take their heavy dose of Ritalin. At points he sounds like a member of Bone Thugz on acid (like on the title track “Ghost in the Shell”) and at other times he sounds like a creative trap rapper (like on “PHC LA LA”). Another aspect of Gibson’s raps that make him so appealing is just how overall entertaining he is. There are many geek culture references embedded in his raps that are rooted from video games, anime and pop culture. Furthermore, next time you listen to this tape, just focus solely on Gibson’s adlibs and I swear it acts as one of the funniest collections of sounds I have ever heard on a rap project. That’s not to mention the story he tells on the track “Party Woman”.
The length of the mixtape, as well as the lack of lyrical depth, are the only minor setbacks on the project…with an emphasis on minor. There is seldom a mixtape with 19+ tracks that I enjoy listening to from beginning to end, but I have done so with Ghost in the Shell multiple times and plan on doing it again multiple times in the future. With that being said, Gibson may have been able to provide a more concise and concentrated project by shedding off a very minimal amount of tracks that could be deemed as fillers. With respect to lack of lyrical content, Gibson has presented music to make you laugh, party to, for girls to get ready to, or to just chill and smoke a fat doobie to. He even offers some lyrics that can make you think a little bit deeper, like on the outro, however, the tape could definitely use more of this. This is especially true for an international citizen like Gibson, who mentions that he grew up in Thailand and Singapore.
The Prehistoric Crew rapper from Los Angeles just may have snuck in one of the best projects of 2013 thus far. If you have not heard a track off his newest mixtape or even heard of Azizi Gibson at all, make sure to give his tape a quick download. It is free after all.
Oh, and before you go, you need to tap into your mind, open up your skull, stop living life blind.